Toronto Film School President Andrew Barnsley recently made a special guest appearance on Origin Films’ Filmmakers Uncut – a podcast offering insider tips, tricks, and advice to aspiring filmmakers and videographers.
Over the course of the 54-minute episode hosted by Pouya Mirzaei, Barnsley discussed some of the lessons he’s learned over the span of his 20-year career in the screen industries – including just what duties are actually entailed in his job as the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning executive producer of such hit shows as Schitt’s Creek, Jann, Son of a Critch and Kids in the Hall.
“An executive producer, for me, is somebody who works very closely with the creatives – with writers, showrunners, creators and actors – on the one side of the business, and then, on the business side, also deals with buyers and broadcasters and distributors and studios, as well as the banks, lawyers, and accountants,” explained Barnsley, who also serves as the CEO of Project 10 Productions Inc.
“For me, the responsibility of an executive producer is to really marry those two worlds and to figure out ways to create business and economics around creative ideas and creative teams; then figuring out ways to work with broadcasting partners, distributions partners to find audiences for those ideas.”
In terms of his advice for aspiring young filmmakers hoping to follow in his footsteps and likewise make their mark on the screen industries, Barnsley argued that a successful career is one that is built upon a solid foundation of knowledge in whatever your chosen field may be.
“If you want to be a producer, a director; if you want to be a grip, a DOP; if you want to work in wardrobe or hair – nobody is going to look at (what degree or diploma you have). But what they will look at is the skillset that you bring to your job, the attitude that you bring to the job, the understanding of the culture, of the industry and of the set that you bring to the job. And these are all things that you learn in school,” he said.
“At Toronto Film School, we pride ourselves on the fact that our students are set ready the moment they graduate – they understand the culture, they understand the hierarchy, they understand the operational side of a set and they’re able to transition seamlessly to that. That doesn’t happen without school – it just doesn’t.”
To hear more of Barnsley’s words of wisdom for young filmmakers, listen to his entire episode of Filmmakers Uncut HERE or below: